Maitland Montessori School

May 2016

Notes from the Directors:

Well, here it is—the last issue of this school year’s newsletterThe last day of school is May 31, and that’s just around the corner!  As the school year draws to a close, we want to thank you for sharing your children.  The work they have done and the growth we have seen, as always, is amazing. 

We will be planning for next year during the summer.  If you have any suggestions for next year--field trips, projects, parent information evenings--please e-mail the school at or write us a note.  The school works better if we work together, so do let us know your thoughts. 

We wish a heartfelt farewell to those of our students who will not be returning next year, and we wish them all the best at their new schools.  We wish all of our students and parents a wonderful and refreshing summer break; we look forward to seeing you return for the 2016/2017 school year.

 Adele Fondo, M.Ed.          Muriel Owens


May TBA:  Gardening at Preschool/Kindergarten 

May 2:  Rehearsal at Maitland Civic Center for “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” Cast, 3:00-5:30 P.M. 

May 7:  PTA Spring Fest (Rescheduled from April), 12:00-3:00 p.m. at Lake Lily 

May 9:  Dress Rehearsal at Maitland Civic Center for “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” Cast, 3:00-5:30 P.M. 

May 13:  End-of-the-School-Year Performance of “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” at Maitland Civic Center, 7:00 P.M. 

May 18:  Elementary/Middle School May 25 Sub Wednesday Orders Due 

May 19:  Elementary/Middle School Student Concert at Maitland Civic Center, 6:30 P.M. 

May 20:  Parents’ Night Out, Preschool-3rd Grade 

May 26:  Kindergarten Graduation, Maitland Civic Center, 5:30-8:00 P.M. 
and Middle School “Leavers’” Lunch
Yearbook Signing at Elementary/Middle School 

May 27:  Middle School Talent Show, 1:00 P.M. 

May 30:  Schools Closed for Memorial Day 

May 31:  Last Day of School and Russ Willi, Magician at Preschool/Kindergarten and Elementary/Middle School 

June 1:  First Day of Summer Programs

Help your child be successful. 
Help your child be independent. 
Be here on time!


A run-through for the main cast of “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” will be held at the Maitland Civic Center on May 2 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  A dress rehearsal will take place May 9--same place, same time.  Then a final run-through will take place at the school on May 11 (TBA).  Please remember to arrange for transportation for your child as our staff cannot transport students.  Parents are not allowed to attend the rehearsals.

The PTA Spring Fest has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 7--same time (12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.), same place (Lake Lily).  Cross your fingers for good weather.  Then join us for a day of old-fashioned family fun; bring a picnic-basket lunch and a blanket, or you may purchase from the food vendors there.  Games and other activities, like the PTA's "famous" cake walk, have been planned, and there'll be a DJ providing background music.

It’s not too late to register for our summer camps.  Information was e-mailed a few months ago and the forms are available on RenWeb under "Resource Documents."  We still have space available.  You are welcome to invite friends to register for summer camp fun too.

Final report cards will be mailed.  Please be aware that before we can mail your child's report card your student account must be paid in full and there must be no other outstanding obligations to the schools (such as loaned books).  SAT test results will also be mailed, and under the same restrictions, if they are not received before the last day of school.

If your child will be attending another school next year, be sure to leave your records release form with Mrs. Dunkle in the main office.  As with report cards, school records will not be released or transferred until all balances and obligations to our schools have been satisfied.

We thank all our wonderful parent volunteers for their participation in the 2015/2016 school year, and we look forward to seeing you in the upcoming school year!


Thank you, PTA! 

The directors and staff wish to thank the PTA Board for the work they have done this school year.  We thank the parents who have helped organize events and who come to support events.  We know as a volunteer organization it is sometimes hard to juggle all the commitments you have, but the leadership this year has been friendly and supportive of the school, its vision and mission, the staff, and the Montessori community as a whole.  Thank you.  Your work is appreciated.

Please remember that we collect General Mills Box Tops for Education and recycled paper year-round.  You are welcome to bring your contributions to the main office during the summer.

 “Enrich your children’s environment and let the environment encourage them to learn.”
--Dr. Glenn I. Latham

“It is necessary, then, to give the child the possibility of developing according to the laws of his nature, so that he can become strong, and, having become strong, can do even more than we dared to hope for him.”
--Dr. Maria Montessori

Preschool/Kindergarten - Blue Room, Red Room, and Yellow Room

Blue Room, Red Room, Yellow Room 

As our school year draws to a close, we would like to thank ALL our volunteers who helped this year, from room moms who coordinated volunteers for the classrooms and special events to those of you who listened to readers, did crafts with the children, and shared cultural traditions.  We also thank all of you who donated materials and books to our classrooms. 

The children enjoyed the recent visit from “The Bee Lady,” which came on the heels of our studying insects.  The students learned about hives, worker bees, drones, and queens.  They learned how important bees are to the earth and how we need to protect them. 

The children got a kick out of the ladybug habitat.  Can you believe it has 1,500 ladybugs in it?  We will release the ladybugs into our school gardens this week. 

The students are studying the continent of South America; they are push-pinning maps with the countries and assembling puzzles.  Our nature and continent tables hold an array of items, pictures, and books relating to South America.  Next month we’ll be moving on to Australia, magnets, and amphibians.  The Blue Room will be investigating Europe. 

Our kindergarten students are having fun exploring fractions. 

Kindergarten Leadership 

The children loved our luau celebration.  Everyone savored the delicious menu that included pulled chicken and pulled pork sandwiches, Hawaiian pizza, fruit kabobs, and tropical fruit sorbet.  Thank you, Mrs. Pearson and Mrs. Aldarondo-Jeffries, for your food prep before the lunch. 

A special thanks goes to Sunday’s aunt for the hula dance presentation.  The students watched the hula dancers perform and then the students performed for the dancers.  The boys used puuli sticks for their “war chant” song; the girls did hula danced to “Pearly Shells.” 

With a busy school year nearly behind us, the children are now getting ready for their kindergarten graduation.  We are looking forward to our kindergarten graduation on Thursday, May 26, at 7:00 p.m. at the Maitland Civic Center.  We will send more details soon. 

We have enjoyed being with your children as they learn more about their world and we wish them all the best as they leave for first grade. 

Parents’ Night Out 

Please mark your calendars for the final 2015/2016 Parents’ Night Out evening which will be on May 20.  It will be an end-of-the-year blowout!

Elementary/Middle School - First/Second/Third Grade
Mrs. Babinchak, Mrs. Flanagan, Mrs. Mathis, Mr. Owens, Mrs. Prado, Mrs. Talbert

Mrs. Flanagan/Mrs. Mathis/Mrs. Babinchak/Mrs. Strong 

We are heading into the homestretch of the year!  Speaking of “homestretch,” we have been talking about those interesting expressions and figures of speech that don’t always mean what they seem to.  We talk about how using them enhances our writing and our speaking.  We’re really enjoying thinking about what it means to be a “busy bee” or why “you shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch.”  As teachers, we notice that when we speak to children of this age group, it can be really hit or miss in terms of whether the language we use is really understood.  You may notice this at home too.  That does not mean we need to simplify our language.  In fact, the children truly benefit from being exposed to more complex words and phrases, however, it’s always a great idea to pause and check for understanding.  Just the other day, Mrs. Flanagan was encouraging a child, who was showing signs of fatigue, to “power through” and finish the lesson, but Mrs. Flanagan didn’t get the response she was looking for.  It then occurred to her to ask the all-important question:  “Do you know what I mean when I say ‘power through’?”  As adults, we often think the child is choosing not to follow our directions.  Yet we find that when we stop to check for understanding, we often uncover a misunderstanding that we never anticipated.  That misunderstanding can be what is keeping the child from successfully completing the task. 

The children were very excited to get instructions for our final project of the year, “Wonders of the World.”  We love that there is such high interest in learning more about other cultures and other parts of the world.  The project is due on May 23.  In all Montessori lessons, there is a “direct aim” (the main purpose of the lesson), but there are also what are called “indirect aims.”  In this case, the direct aim is for the child is to increase his/her knowledge about a particular place; the indirect aims include such things as practicing time management and meeting a deadline, which, of course, require support and commitment from the adults in the child’s life.  We thank you for helping your child work on these valuable skills. 

We really enjoyed a visit from Jean the Bee Lady and her partner, John.  We learned all kinds of facts about the lives of bees and their importance in our lives.  A turtle and some fish have also visited recently, and we hope that the exposure to living creatures results in increased respect for all life forms, including insects.  Mrs. Babinchak and Mrs. Strong have presented several new botany lessons; we’re learning a lot about how plants meet their needs, and we continue to enjoy gardening with help from the middle school students. 

Before we know it, the last day of school will be here.  It has been a really rewarding year for our whole team, and we thank you for the gift of working with all the children.  We hope your summer is filled with relaxation, memorable experiences, and reading!  Summer is a great time to really stretch those reading muscles.  Don’t forget your local library has a summer reading program in place that you can take advantage of for free!

Mrs. Owens/Mrs. Prado 

This time of year always seems to roll around so quickly, and we’ll be into the swing of summer before you know it.  In the meantime, the children continue to work in all areas of the classroom, making progress at each of their own individual levels. 

While things will be winding down soon, please remember that second and third grade students will still need to complete at least one AR test per month.  All the students should continue to work on memorizing their math facts at home--addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division--even after school lets out in May; we’d like them to stay sharp for when they return in August. 

Don’t forget that the science and experiment projects are due in May.  Working on these projects a little at a time will make them easier to handle and will provide a more positive experience for your child. 

If you have any questions or concerns, you can always e-mail us at 

We thank our parent volunteers and we wish everyone a pleasant and book-filled summer!

Mrs. Talbert 

It is amazing how quickly this school year is coming to a close.  We have seen great growth in the students this year and an explosion of reading fluency.  We recently honored Beverly Cleary, a fantastic author of classic children’s literature, as she turned 100 years old.  As part of our tribute, we read several of her books this year.  The children are very interested in their own creative story writing and we have had several “books” written by our students.  We are pleased that the students are progressing well in math also. 

Our gardens continue to flourish.  In honor of Earth Day, we added more butterfly-attracting plants and a variety of different host plants, to our butterfly garden.  We want to encourage other types of butterflies to join our well established monarch population.  Everyone--adults and children--are mesmerized by the metamorphic cycle we see take place just outside our classrooms. 

We are looking forward to the science demonstration project presentations that will take place on May 18.  The children are very excited to be doing this project.  We hope you will join them in their enthusiasm! 

Elementary/Middle School -  Fourth/Fifth/Sixth Grade
Mrs. Peña/Mrs. Serbia

The students are busy in all areas of the classroom.  In Language, fourth graders have worked on verbs and editing.  In Writing Workshop our students have worked on descriptive writing about their favorite people.  In Math, fourth graders have worked on fractions, while fifth graders have ventured into the more complex waters of pre-algebra.  The sixth grade students are learning about interest (as it relates to money matters), volume, and velocity.  The fifth grade students have researched “The Tree of Life,” focusing on the animal, prokaryote, and fungus kingdoms.  Sixth graders have gone over biomes and the fourth graders are studying in botany.  All the students have studied the chemistry subjects of solubility, mixtures, and suspensions; in physics they have studied electricity and magnetism.  Our fourth and fifth grade students are researching different areas of economic geography, while our sixth grade students are researching the human body, and in particular, the nervous system. 

We wish everyone a blissful summer and we look forward to seeing our students return in August.  We bid a sad farewell to those who will be moving on to other schools, and we wish much success to those who will be moving onto seventh grade in the 2016/2017 school year!

Elementary/Middle School - Seventh/Eighth Grade
Mrs. Shivji

A great time was had by all at Camp Wewa.  The students worked on team building activities and problem solving.  They also enjoyed the ropes course, canoeing, and archery.  It was important for the students to experience the fruits of their fundraising efforts. 

The Scholastic Book Fair was also a great success.  As always, the students set up, ran, and closed down the fair.  It is a wonderful learning opportunity.  Thank you to everyone who participated by buying and donating books and volunteering. 

During Montessori Week the middle schoolers enjoyed making blankets, which we donated to the Orlando Coalition for the Homeless. 

In world history, the seventh and eighth grade students have just completed their study of the Roman Empire.  As we continue to study different civilizations, the students now recognize the similarities and patterns of each great civilization and the lessons we can learn from them. 

Elementary/Middle School Extracurricular

Mr. Little - Band, Chorus, Music, Music 101 

Our music students have been continuing their progress in learning about music at different levels.  We’ve continued our practice in solfege and reading music.  We’ve been identifying melodies in different instruments and learning to identify the instruments playing them.  We’ve also been working on music for our Spring performance on May 19 at the Maitland Civic Center.  Be sure to mark your calendars! 

Our recorders have continued to progress with new notes and refinement of techniques.  Band classes have been moving forward with a mix of basic techniques, including oral and written music.  We’ve also been preparing songs for the coming performance. 

One of the important skills all music students have been learning is how to practice.  More specifically, how to break things down during a practice session into smaller, focused chunks that can be mastered more easily and recombined. 

Thank you for supporting music at Maitland Montessori.  I look forward to seeing you at our Spring concert on May 19!

Mrs. Serbia - 1st-3rd Grade Art 

What a great year in art we’ve had with the lower elementary children!  Sensorial materials from the early childhood education classrooms, such as the colored tablets and the geometric cabinets, have provided the children with the wonderful opportunity of experiencing, understanding,  and seeingbalance, proportion, and symmetry throughout art.  

This past month, the students were exposed to these elements of art: perceived and actual form, value, and perceived texture. 

I enjoyed being their art teacher this school year and wish everyone a fun-filled summer!

Mrs. Peña - 4th-8th Grade Art 

The students worked on form this quarter by creating sculptures with wood, clay, and wire and experimenting with the effects of light.  Their organic sculptures were inspired by our school gardens.  Other sculptures were geometric and created with wood sticks.  They learned to draw perceived form using value and shading.  (Kudos to Fury Brightwell for applying her new skills in computer class to create an amazing piece of digital art!)  The students also helped draw and decorate some of the props for the end-of-the-school-year musical, “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr.”  The students also learned how to sensitively critique their schoolmates’ artwork following positive criticism guidelines.  This year instead of an art show the children will prepare an art portfolio to take home. 

Have a great summer!

Mrs. Prado/Spanish - First-Third Grade 

The children are being introduced to the concept of masculine and feminine.  We are learning articles for singular masculine, singular feminine, plural masculine, and plural feminine.  We are learning vocabulary for clothing, as well as words for transportation.  The children can construct phrases and sentences with the basic vocabulary they already know, and they can use the grammar symbols to analyze their sentences in Spanish.  They also practice simple conversations with sentences like these:  “Mi nombre es.” (My name is Maria.) “Estoy feliz.” (I am feeling happy.)

Mrs. García/Spanish- Fourth-Eighth Grade 

SPANISH 2: The FOURTH and FIFTH grade students have been working hard at sentence building.  They are practicing with nouns, articles, and adjectives.  We have introduced verbs into our sentences and the students enjoy creating more challenging sentences. 

The advanced FIFTH grade students are getting more proficient at conjugating verbs and understanding the relationship between verbs and pronouns. We have been making sentences with the verb “TO BE” (SER, ESTAR) and learning which adjectives go with each verb (temporary vs. permanent).  We are using the verb querer and the verb necesitar to make sentences to express needs and wants. 

SPANISH 3: The MIDDLE SCHOOL SIXTH and SEVENTH grade children took their exam and started a new chapter.  In Chapter 3, we will learn about Texas, its Spanish heritage and its traditions. In this new chapter we will learn to:

Talk about what others like to do Use the verb querer with infinitives
Ask what a friend wants to do and answer Talk about everyday activities
Use the verb gustar with infinitives Form and use regular “AR verbs
Place pronouns after prepositions 

SPANISH 4: The MIDDLE SCHOOL EIGHTH grade children started a new textbook and were able to skip over the first review chapter because, without any preparation or studying, they all ACED the exam, which covered ALL FIVE CHAPTERS of the previous textbook, thus proving they are assimilating and retaining the Spanish concepts.  We started a new chapter where welearned about Mexico, its customs and traditions.  In this new chapter we will also learn how to:

Comment on food
Take someone’s order
Make polite requests
Use the verbs ser, estar, pedir, server, preferir, poder, and probar
Talk about foods
Offer help and give instructions

Mrs. Suazo/P.E.

Parents, I believe a good attitude towards fitness is crucial to everyoneof any age, but it’s especially rewarding to see children increase their fitness levels and improve their health, well being, and confidence while having fun! 

We are working out in these three phases of fitness:

*Endurance  is developed when children regularly engage in aerobic activity, because the heart beats faster and the child breathes harder.  When this is done regularly and for extended periods of time, aerobic activity strengthens the heart and improves the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all its cells.

*Strength, such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and other exercises, help tone and strengthen muscles.

*Flexibility exercises allow muscles and joints to bend and move easily through their full range of motion. 

And we are learning some fundamental volleyball skills, which the children are really excited about.

Mr. Sibbitt - Computer 

Spring has arrived, which inevitably means the end of the school year is rapidly approaching.  We have been busy in the computer lab, working on different projects.   For the most part, we have been working with coding through’s online tutorials.  Coding has been a successful venture, and we have expanded the curriculum this year.  Most of the students are enjoying it, but like everything else in life, it is not for everyone.   We are also still learning PowerPoint and, of course, we practice typing in every class. We will be moving on to GIMP/Photoshop soon, and we plan to finish the year with Audacity audio editing software.

The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students have finished the yearbook and it’s with the printers.  Be on the lookout for the sales flyer; you will want to pre-order your copy!  The flyer will soon be available on our website,, and is now on RenWeb under “Resource Documents.” 

Here is the Accelerated Reader update.  As of April 18, 2016, our students have read 997 books, or a total of 27,866,253 words.  The highest individual total belongs to Carla Jones, who has read 4,451,046.  Great job, everyone!  Also, don’t forget to verify your books are actually AR books:  Keep up with your child’s progress by using Renaissance Home Connect: 

Please encourage typing at home using our school link and reinforce proper technique.  This link will allow students to use their Maitland Montessori account:

After-School Robotics Club

After our first robotic session last spring, we accomplished our goal of improving the sense of community and creativity in both groups, the Ev3 and the WEDO.  We are pleased to see that our children are capable of building their own designs from the basic machine concepts they have explored.  They are also programming with more certainty. 

The Ev3 groups are more strong as builders, and they are able to help and inspire the younger students using the WEDO on Friday. 

We are preparing our robots for the May Expo.  The children are so excited, and we hope you will enjoy it too. 

Thank you, Mrs. Owens, Mrs. Fondo, Mr. Stuart Owens, Mrs. Dunkle, and Ms. Leslie for everything you do to make all of this possible!

Have a fantastic summer!
We’ll see you for the 2016/2017 school year on August 15.